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Holt (St. Martin)

HOLT (St. Martin), a parish, in the union of Martley, Lower division of the hundred of Oswaldslow, Worcester and W. divisions of the county of Worcester, 6 miles (N. N. W.) from Worcester; containing, with the chapelry of Little Witley, 557 inhabitants. This place is of considerable antiquity. A castle was built here by Urso d'Abitot in the reign of William the Conqueror, which was rebuilt by Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, and for some time continued to be the residence of the family; in the time of Elizabeth, it was bought by Sir Thomas Bromley, lord chancellor of England, by whom it was sold to the Foley family. The estate is now, by purchase, the property of Lord Ward, and the castle is occupied by a farmer. The parish is bounded on the north-east by the river Severn, over which is a bridge of five arches, 266 feet in length: the central arch is of iron, and has a span of 150 feet at an elevation of 35 feet above the low-water mark; the other arches are of stone. The extent of the parish is 2907a. 3r. 21p., of which 1912a. 3r. 21p. are in Holt; of the whole, two-thirds are arable, and the remainder pasture. Stone of good quality for building is quarried to a considerable extent. The roads from Worcester to Stourport and from Ludlow to Droitwich cross each other at the village; and the Severn also affords facility of conveyance. The living is a rectory, with the chapelry annexed, valued in the king's books at £15. 17. 8½., and in the patronage of Lord Ward: the tithes have been commuted for £570, and the glebe comprises 46 acres, with a house. The church is an ancient structure, of the early Norman style in the nave, with a tower and chancel of far more recent date; the font has some grotesque ornaments.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.